By Helena Rodriguez: CNJ staff writer
My dad was talking to my 10-year-old niece, Mireya, recently about the music devices he grew up with — cassettes, reel-to-reels and eight-tracks.
“And those ‘big CDs,’” Mireya remarked about the old vinyl records.
This remark not only cracked me up, it got me started thinking about how so much has been downsized these days, from our music listening and entertainment gadgets to our household appliances and even our hairdos. It also got me started making a list of just the opposite — things that have actually gone from kiddie to supersize. And in the process, I have identified many ironies.
Here’s what I came up with:
Our lawn mowers have gotten bigger, as in riding mowers, while our yards, on average, have gotten smaller.
Our TVs have gotten bigger, but TV shows and movies have gotten shorter.
Our soda and beer bottles and packaging and sugar products have gotten bigger, but our meat, dairy and fruit and vegetable products seem to be shrinking in size.
Our doctor visits have become shorter, but the medical bills bigger.
Loan approval time has become much smaller, but the time to pay back has become bigger and with smaller loans has come bigger interest.
Our telephones and phone conversations have become much smaller, but our phone bills are much bigger.
We have smaller microwaves and stoves, but we eat a lot more.
We have smaller tape-recording and video-recording devices, but they’ve been known to create bigger headaches.
We have smaller, faster computers, but more time is spent on them doing more work.
Infomercials are getting longer while the size of books, newspapers and magazines is getting smaller.
We have more news channels, but shorter news stories.
Hairdos and styles have become much smaller, but we’re using more hair products and paying more for these styles.
We’re building overfunded sports stadiums and courthouses but underfunded schools and libraries.
Our government has become bigger, but government productivity and response smaller.
We’re spending more money building prisons while youth and community activity centers seem to be becoming smaller.
Salaries have increased but more Americans are in debt.
Wristwatches have become bigger, but most people just rely on their cell phones.
In today’s world, it has become easy to sweat over the small things and dismiss and procrastinate on the bigger, more important matters.
As our society has become more diverse, we seem to have become more intolerant lately.
On our grocery shelves, economy size usually means you pay more for a smaller amount.
We have more channels to watch on TV but less quality and educational programming.
So our society has shrunk from “big CDs” to smaller CDs, from bulky VCRs to space-saving DVD players and from ankle-length poodle skirts to miniskirts.
The above ironies go to show that bigger isn’t always better. It depends what you’re talking about. Bigger schools and smaller prisons would be nice. And in some cases, smaller is better. After all, good things do come in small packages. But again, it depends what you’re talking about.
It would be nice if economy-size products were really economic and it would be nice if, as our world becomes smaller thanks to many of these new technological gadgets, that we would more open minded — instead of the reverse.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: